Intellectual Pride

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

The Right Side of History

It’s been said that advertising is the world’s oldest profession, with the devil needing only a clever marketing campaign to get Adam and Eve to eat the apple. Whether or not that is true, it certainly is true that we can be swayed by slogans and jingles into doing the silliest things. “You deserve a [...]

What Our Lady’s Suffering Can Teach Church Leaders

My wife grew up in a small town, and as Chesterton said, small-town people are the real cosmopolitans. They can’t insulate themselves in a comfy circle of the like-minded; they must deal with everybody. There were good people in her town, but the nasty ones were always walking down her street. Cosmopolitan in a fallen [...]

Abandon All Pride Those Who Seek the Kingdom

At the very end of Evelyn Waugh’s novel on the finding of the True Cross, Helena, he writes a paean to the Magi in the form of a prayer: You are especial patrons, and patrons of all latecomers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused [...]

By Rejecting God, Modern Man Rejects His Humanity

Modern man is at a precipice. We all know it. The yearning for something more than empty selves, fleeting friendships, the “joyless quest for joy,” and a desire for the sublime are all indicative of the dimly lit flame St. Augustine says remains in us even after the Fall. Like Aristophanes’s separated man we are [...]

I’ll See Your World and Raise You a Kosmos

Hubris is a theme that preoccupied the minds of the ancient Greeks. Man’s fate was unpredictable in a world governed by capricious deities, therefore one ought to temper one’s aspirations and avoid displeasing them in any way. Calamities could befall whole cities because of hubris in one man, as Sophocles dramatized in Oedipus Rex. In [...]

The Tower of Babel and the Struggle to Be Like God

History has a habit of repeating itself. No matter how advanced modern man becomes the world still seems to make similar mistakes as in the past and falls for the same lies. One of the lies which America continues to believe is the notion that man can become God. This struggle to be like God [...]

Pursuing True Happiness in a World Without Truth

“[T]he direct and pure experience of reality in its ultimate root is man’s deepest need.” ∼ Thomas Merton Among the many confusions in our modern-secular culture is the fundamentally incoherent idea—which is also a promise, a hope, and a dream—that true happiness is possible without truth, but instead can be had with more freedom and [...]

Welcome to Reality

I've never quite felt at home on earth. I get sick sometimes, and that's just wrong, and I am mildly afflicted when I have to tear out poison ivy in bunches, and that also is wrong. Sometimes I meet people who aren't very nice, or who think that I am not very nice. Sometimes there [...]

The Mind of the Ideologue

On February 16, 1979, a secular leftist professor of politics, Richard Falk, enjoying in the security of France a sabbatical for international meddling, wrote an editorial for The New York Times, entitled “Trusting Khomeini.” When the history of the collapse of western civilization is written, that editorial should merit more than a footnote. The pro-western [...]

The University Needs the Monastic Spirit More Than Ever

In one of her last stories, “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” Flannery O’Connor told a story of miscomprehension between mother and son. The story retells communication problems between generations by contrasting two valuations of life. Walter and his mother are at odds for reasons which are perfectly comprehensible within the mental world of each but [...]

What Have We Learned from Universities?

The recent news that Pope Francis has appointed a commission of prelates to reevaluate a former Pontifical university in Peru has elicited a few sardonic remarks, and perhaps even some earnest hopes, that the Vatican might take a similarly incisive interest in the condition of certain Catholic institutions in the United States. As unlikely as [...]

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